US port blockage eases
Image © Charles Csavossy
The United States’ National Retail Federation (NRF) has declared that the ‘pandemic-driven shipping surge’ is finally over, as the import cargo volume being managed at the nation’s major container ports has fallen below last year’s high and this situation is expected to continue for the coming months.
Reports from early 2021 suggested that port congestion and container shortages – with too many standing empty in the US and too few in Asia waiting to be loaded – were causing significant problems for some footwear brand owners and retailers as they tried to restock to meet increased post-covid consumer demand. The affected facilities included the Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are said to account for almost 50 per cent of US imports from Asia.
According to Jonathan Gold, vice-president of supply chain and customs policy at the NRF, US ports had been ‘stretched to their limits and beyond’, but are finally seeing some relief as continued inflation and high interest rates lead to a fall in consumer demand. “Consumers are still spending, and volumes remain high, but we’re not seeing the congestion at the docks and ships waiting to unload that were widespread this time a year ago,” he added.
This article was originally published on page 2 of the January 2023 issue of SATRA Bulletin.